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Following up the excellent Make Believe, artistic director and roster artist for the young Between The Lines labeltrumpeter-composer Franz Koglmannpays a bit of homage to composer Johann Strauss' melodies, waltzes and overall elegance on the aptly titled, An Affair With Strauss. Here, the venerable trumpeter once again enlists the support of the equally talented and somewhat legendary reedman Tony Coe and all-world bassist Peter Herbert while guitarist Burkhard Stangl also lends his expertise to this drummer-less band known as Monoblue Quartet.
With this recording, the musicians perpetuate the aura of Johann Strauss while turning in an intelligent, thoroughly charming and sophisticated set of mostly original compositions. On Pieces such as "A Metropolitan Affair," "Next To NothingA Non Affair" and "Dear Little Pipistrelle," the band conveys either lightly swinging grooves or waltz-like motifs, counterbalanced by delicate phrasing from the soloists while melding a neo-classical approach with modern jazz-type dialogue. "Out Of Strauss" features pungent, fluid lines along with hybrid waltz-samba rhythms and a touch of free-jazz style compositional deconstruction. Here, bassist Peter Herbert induces rhythms by tapping his wooden acoustic bass while guitarist Burkhard Stangl performs unorthodox chord voicings in tandem with melodic intervals that often skirt the fringes of Euro-classicism. George Posford's "Good Night Vienna" serves as a jaunty vehicle for Tony Coe's slightly tongue-in-cheek vocals that invoke somewhat of a cabaret atmosphere.
Once again, Franz Koglmann and co. provide an engaging mix of what some might refer to as Chamber-Jazz while pursuing multicolored panoramas or aural vistas that often stimulate the mind's imaginative eye.
Years ago now--in Rhodesia--listening to Voice of America with Willis Conover I heard Bunk Johnson play When The Saints Go Marching In, and Billie Holiday sing Don't Explain. I knew then there was no other life for me than jazz.